LATEST: Siptu criticises Bus Éireann management for attempting to force inequitable wage cuts

Latest: Siptu representatives have criticised an attempt by the management of Bus Éireann to force through an inequitable wage cuts at the company which overwhelmingly focus on the earnings of bus drivers and other staff while ignoring senior management.

LATEST: Siptu criticises Bus Éireann management for attempting to force inequitable wage cuts

Update 7.20pm: Siptu representatives have criticised an attempt by the management of Bus Éireann to force through an inequitable wage cuts at the company which overwhelmingly focus on the earnings of bus drivers and other staff while ignoring senior management.

"It is critically important that any overall proposals are fair and equitable among all categories. Siptu did not break down the recent discussions," said Siptu sector organiser, Willie Noone in a letter sent to the management of Bus Éireann today.

"The company wanted immediate savings which would have involved immediate cuts to the pay of some employees and breaches of collectively bargained agreements. This was not acceptable. Senior management for example were not asked to make any contribution and this clearly was not equitable or fair."

During the talks process Willie Noone states that "a number of inefficiencies" at the company were "acknowledged and accepted" by all sides.

"Siptu is committed to eradicating inefficiencies as this is a mechanism to secure good employment terms for our members into the future," Willie Noone said.

The letter continues, "the Siptu position is that an agreement on this is achievabl"” and that "Siptu members and representatives want it noted that they do not want a dispute and are committed to the survival of Bus Éireann, its presence on the maximum number of routes and the maximum number of decent jobs."

Update - 5pm; The NBRU has reiterated that it is prepared to look at alternative payroll structures at Bus Éireann and to address inefficiencies that have developed in some paygrades.

It is after management at the company called on unions earlier to set out their position, in order to determine if talks could be re-established.

The NBRU says while it is concerned at the request issued outside of the Industrial Relations framework, it's decided to set out its position in the hopes talks can reconvene.

However the union says that any proposed resolution will have to contain a commitment from Bus Éireann to resolve the Expressway crisis.

Update - 1.10pm: Management at Bus Eireann says it may be willing to engage in further talks with the unions at the company.

The company's board agreed at a meeting today, to discuss cost-saving measures, that it should seek clarification from unions on their position.

It says depending on the unions' response there may be an opportunity to re-engage in "time-limited talks".

However, the board says it will meet again to approve the implementation of cost-saving measures, which it says are necessary to avoid the risk of insolvency.

The full statement from Bus Éireann's Board read: "Due to the perilous state of the Company’s finances and the failure to reach agreement with unions at the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) last Monday, the Board of Bus Éireann convened this morning to hear management outline a number of further cost-saving options which could be urgently implemented.

"Before implementing these options, the Board have now sought written clarification from unions in relation to their position. Subject to this clarification, which is expected today, there may be an opportunity to re-engage in time-limited talks.

"The Board will re-convene again to approve the implementation of cost saving measures, which must be taken to avoid the risk of insolvency."

Earlier: Bus Éireann board members will discuss their next move this morning after talks about cost-cutting ended without agreement.

An all-out strike had been deferred to allow for the discussions at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The company accused unions of "inflexibility" after negotiations adjourned late on Monday night, but worker representatives accused management of "intransigence".

It has raised concerns that users of the bus network could be facing delays due to industrial action in the coming weeks.

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